YOUR FORMER SPOUSE MAY STILL HAVE RIGHTS TO PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY YOU AFTER THE DIVORCE HAS BEEN FINALIZED
H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 30 years of experience suggests that New York residents who obtain foreign divorces may have unexpected consequences that affect the property of the marriage.
In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division, 4th Department in New York, the Appellate Court determined that where a foreign divorce was obtained from a Court that lacked jurisdiction over the parties’ marital property, that the valuation dates for marital property must be between the date of commencement of post divorce case to divide marital property and the date of trial of that case.
Allow me to put this into some perspective for the reader.
Let’s say that the parties mutually consent to obtain a divorce in a country that has no residency requirement and provides a quick divorce, without jurisdiction over their property rights. Accordingly, the divorce is legal and enforceable as it was mutually consented to and not unilateral. Hypothetically, let us imagine that the wife owned stock valued at the time of the divorce at $10,000.00. Five years later, the husband brings on an action in New York to distribute the hypothetical stock. Under our imagined scenario, the stock is now worth $500,000.00 and remains at that value to trial (following multiple stock splits with no post divorce contribution by the wife to the value of the stock). Under this example, the value at the time of the divorce would not be considered under the recent decision of the Appellate Court. The trial court would be forced to use the $500,000.00 value for equitable distribution purposes. As the above hypothetical provided that the wife contributed nothing to the rise in price of the stock, one could only guess what the trial Court would do in apportioning the stock between the parties under these hypothetical circumstances.
I am not rendering any opinion regarding the fairness of this approach, but it is the law.
Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 30 years. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq.,a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 516 747 2290. The initial consultation is free.
My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, Nassau County, New York.
Written by: H. Michael Stern, Long Island Divorce Lawyer & Mediator